In between the second and third periods of the Rangers loss to the Penguins on Sunday, NBC interviewed head coach Tom Renney and he said that the Rangers would have to be more physical to get out of their one-goal deficit at the time.
They went on to lose 3-1, and were not much more physical in the third than they were in the first or second.
Either Renney was giving lip service for the cameras, or the players aren't listening to him. If it is indeed the latter, then the Rangers have a massive problem that needs to be solved one way or the other ... and soon. He basically threw his hands up early in the season after telling players to go hard to the net and watched as they disappeared into the periphery, needing a long late run to get into playoff position. Well, those playoffs are almost here so its buckle down or go home. And if the Rangers do falter further, then Renney shouldn't be asked to come back.
Other rants from the game:
*Steve Zipay from Newsday said that Renney scratched Colton Orr because he "sustained a foot injury on a shot a few games ago." So Orr was able to be useless in several games against teams without tough guys (Philly and Jersey), but when we play a team with a legitimate enforcer in Georges Laraque he bitches out? Is this like the Philly flu? How pathetic.
*Renney also made the questionable move of playing Shanny for 20 minutes. This late in the season with the playoffs looming, the veteran should be getting a break - not getting more minutes than usual. I'd say Jagr should also get a chance for a break but he barely skates when he is on so that shouldn't be a problem. Where was he in this one??
*Why the hell do we have to suffer through 90s era dance music in the Garden when the Igloo has Slayer??? They played the opening refrain of "Raining Blood" before the opening faceoff. So great, so cool ... love or hate metal, it certainly gets the blood moving.
*The Rangers power play scored for the second straight game to open the scoring. A low shot by Jagr was easily turned away but no Pen covered Dubi and he was able to bang in the rebound. Bad killing by the Pens but nice work by the Rangers to get into the paint. And as the Blueshirts celebrate, the chorus from Sublime's "I've Seen Better Days" plays in the arena; this music director is just awesome.
*Christian Backman vs. Cindy Crosby and the Penguins tie the game at one. Our soft Swede tries to defend one of the best players in the league from three feet away with some weak stick checks and Cindy gets the puck to Hossa, who then uses Backman as a screen to score. How vile. But he got an assist on the power play goal, so we will ignore his gross incompetence. Riiiiiiiight.
*Backman can take a lesson from Paul Mara, who made a fantastic defensive play in the second period, standing up Gina Malkin just inside the blue line. McGuirre also pointed it out - play the man, not the puck.
*Glad to see Cindy is still a crybaby, whining to the refs over icing calls. I hope she remembered to put on her waterproof mascara. She should be thankful for the call, because it gives her a second to smooth over her dress. And this clown is a captain. Ugh. Gretzky pulled some of the same antics but at least he was a Stanley Cup champion.
*Unreal, the Pens take a 2-1 lead on a 5-on-3 power play. Hank stops two great set ups but lets a far shot from the clear sail over his blocker. As Pierre McGuirre astutely pointed out, Pittsburgh clearly sees Hank going down on his knees too early. Funny, that sounds like the scouting report on Cindy ...
*You would hope that by this point in the season the boys would be involved and interested, battling hard ... instead they seemed to sit back in a 2-3 defense, watching the Penguins work the puck around and do whatever they wanted in the Ranger end.
*I understand that the sloppy Ranger play led to eight power plays for the Pens, but Renney has to find ice time for the pistons that make the Rangers engine move. Sean Avery got just 10 minutes of ice time, Nigel Dawes nine and Sjostrom six. Shoe's linemates, Petr Prucha (4:42) and Ryan Hollweg (3:39) barely saw the ice at all. When they did late in the third period, they skated hard and drew a power play (which the 'skill players' promptly wasted).
*I have to get back to the music thing - I just heard "Crosstown Traffic by" Hendrix. We get Kernkraft, they get Hendrix. And later I heard Megadeth! Damn the benign corporate clowns that run MSG.
*Four officials on the ice, and not one sees Cindy cross check Backman four times with the puck nowhere to be found late in the second period. Apparently he gets the Michael Jordan treatment - the 'do whatever you want, you are the only superstar in our sport.'
*Total side note: Former Ranger Tim Taylor will not play one last NHL game and retire at the end of the season. The Tampa Bay captain missed all of this year with major hip surgery. Goodbye to a good soldier.
*I will stop calling Evgeni Malkin "Gina." Like a true hockey player, he took 10 stitches after getting an accidental skate to the face from Dubi and returned to the game. Baseball player Sean Casey missed the first two games of the season for the Red Sox with a sore neck from the plane ride to Japan. Whiner. Maybe Cindy would be a good baseball player!!
*Marty Straka has one goal in his last 11 games and one power play point in 15 games. So why does he automatically get a spot on the power play? Meanwhile Sjostrom, Callahan, Dawes and Prucha are wasting their energy away on the bench. Midway through the third Straka skated in on a one-on-one and pulled up to wait for everyone else. If he doesn't have the confidence in himself, why does Renney have confidence in him?
*And finally before the stars, the game was the first half of a home-and-home. Sadly the Rangers sent no message and mailed it in. The Blueshirts have been better at home all season long, let's hope that they show up tomorrow ...
*PHW Three Stars
3-Marc Andre Fleury - 26 saves.
2-Cindy - two assists.
1-Malkin - game-winning goal.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Paul Mara - three hits, two blocked shots on over 23 minutes of ice time.
2-Tyler Kennedy - the kid was involved every second he was out there pressing the action. I've mentioned it before but I really think he is one to watch next season.
1-Malkin - 10 stitches, strong game, good shot on the goal, much respect ...